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Irish Whiskey Guide

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Bushmills Whiskey DistilleryIreland is famous for many things, especially the drinks that they produce. We’re not talking about the black stuff however; we’re talking their ability to create some of the best and well-known Whiskies in the World. Rivalling the likes of Scotland, United States of America and Japan, Ireland has a long-standing history with Whiskey which dates back to as far as the 1600’s.

The original Bushmills brand was founded in 1608, when the first license was granted to distil whiskey. A few bumps in the road since then, including the Irish War of Independence (1919 > 1921) and prohibition in the United States (1920 > 1933) greatly impacted the Irish whiskey industry, but Irish Whisky is well and truly back on the World stage.

In today’s market, Irish Whiskey has never been so popular with distilleries located all over the Emerald Isle, from Dingle Distillery in County Kerry in the South West all the way up to the World-Famous Bushmills in the north of Northern Ireland. Export numbers are at their highest ever, shipping far and wide.

There are currently 31 distilleries in Ireland, with plenty more planned for the future, from large scale projects to craft distilleries. Each distillery varies in bottle capacity, as well as what’s produced, whether it be Whiskey, Gin, Vodka and the like.

Bushmills Whiskey Distillery

Distilleries in Ireland

There are currently 31 operating distilleries in Ireland (as of December 2019), creating not only Whiskey, but Gin and Vodka as well.

Distilleries in Ireland

What are the most famous Irish Whiskey Brands?

JamesonJameson Irish Whiskey

  • Established: 1780
  • Distilled at: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork, Ireland
  • Character / Style: Malt, Apple, Dried Fruit & Mango

Jameson is probably the most famous, stand out whiskey brands available on the market, most bars around the World will no doubt have a bottle of Jameson’s available. Originally from Dublin, Jameson is now distilled at the New Midleton Distillery in County Cork, thanks to merging with Cork Distillers to form the Irish Distillers Group.

Over 31 million bottles of Jameson whiskey is sold every year, it accounts for more than 70% of all Irish whiskey sold in the USA. It’s far to say that Jameson is one of the best-selling Whiskey labels.

Tullamore D.E.W.

  • Established: 1829
  • Distilled at: Tullamore Distillery, County Offaly, Ireland
  • Character / Style: Biscuits, Apple, Honeysuckle & Mango

Reportedly the second-most best-selling Irish whiskey brand on the market, with an estimated 11.5 million bottles sold per year. It has a history dating back to 1829, when the distillery was established in Tullamore, a town in central Ireland. The D.E.W. in the brand name is named after Daniel E. Williams, who was the general manager and later, owned the original Tullamore Distillery.

BushmillsBushmills Irish Whiskey

  • Established: 1608
  • Distilled at: Old Bushmills Distillery, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
  • Character / Style: Malt, Apple, Dried Fruit & Mango

Bushmills claims to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world, dating back to 1608 when it was first licensed to distil. However, the Irish whiskey brand was officially given a registered trademark in 1784. Located in the North of Northern Ireland on the North Atlantic Coast, the distillery is a popular tourist attraction with approx. 120,000 visitors per annum.

Kilbeggan

  • Established: 1757
  • Distilled at: Kilbeggan Distillery, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
  • Character / Style: Apple, Malt, Nutmeg & Toast

Located in County Westmeath on the banks of the River Brosna, Kilbeggan Distillery is the oldest licensed distillery in Ireland dating back to 1757. They use the oldest working pot still producing whiskey in the world today, a copper pot still that was constructed in the early 1800s has been refurbished and put back to use.

TeelingTeeling Irish Whiskey

  • Established: 2015
  • Distilled at: Teeling Distillery, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Teeling Whiskey is one of the newest distilleries in Ireland, in fact it is the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years. They’ve racked up an impressive array of category-leading worldwide awards in their short existence, including the World's Best Single Malt award at the 2019 World Whiskies Awards.

Redbreast

  • Established: 1903
  • Distilled at: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork, Ireland
  • Character / Style: Dried Fruit, Lemon & Mango

Distilled at the same Midleton distillery in Cork as Jamesons, Redbreast is matured in first-fill Sherry and bourbon casks and it’s the biggest selling single pot still Irish whiskey in the World. Recent accolades for the Redbreast 21-Year-Old include being named the Second Finest Whiskey in the World in Jim Murray's dependable 2018 Whisky Bible.

Green Spot

  • Established: 1920
  • Distilled at: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork, Ireland
  • Character / Style: Apple, Grass, Malt, Mango & Toffee

Green Spot is a single pot still Irish whiskey, produced for Mitchell & Son of Dublin again, at the Midleton Distillery in Cork. Production is limited to 12,000 bottle per year, so it’s relatively hard to get hold of, however distribution of Green Spot has become more widespread recently. The name originates from the original colour coding scheme for the casks, paint was used to track and highlight the age of the whiskey inside the barrel!

Bushmills Whiskey Distillery

Where can I buy Irish Whiskey?

Irish Whiskey is readable available in supermarkets, off-licences and specialist online retailors, however for a more in-depth choice of some fantastic Irish whiskies, check out our friends at Hennings Wine Merchants, as well as The Whisky Exchange and Masters of Malt.

Where can I buy perfect Whiskey glasses?

Click here to view our vast selection of whisky glasses which are perfect for Irish Whiskey. We also have a great collection of whisky decanters that are ideal for not only whisky, but other spirits such as cognac, brandy, port and more!

Shop Whisky Glasses

Images courtesy of Hennings Wine Merchants.
 
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